Austria to decide on lockdown extension on Monday

Austria to decide on lockdown extension on Monday
Photo: BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP
The Austrian government will make a decision on any possible lockdown extension - or an easing of measures - on Monday. The lockdown is currently expected to end on February 7th.

Representatives from each Austrian state along with federal officials will be there to make the decision, before an announcement is made sometime on Monday afternoon. 

Some state representatives are looking to push for reopenings of schools and shops, Der Standard reports

Tyrol Governor Günther Platter said this week that he was pushing for cautious reopenings of schools and non-essential shops, while Vienna's Michael Ludwig said he was hoping for a gradual relaxation of measures “especially for kindergartens and schools, but also for parts of the trade”.

As it currently stands, Austria's lockdown is set to run until February 7th. 

UPDATED: What are the rules of Austria's coronavirus lockdown? 

'Unfortunately school closures have been effective'

Virologist Dorothee von Laer said on Tuesday morning that the government and the opposition were in broad agreement about the effectiveness of Austria’s lockdown measures. 

“Unfortunately, school closures have been effective” she said, acknowledging that many throughout Austria want schools to start face-to-face lessons again. 

READ MORE: Seven (legal) ways you can still have fun in lockdown in Vienna

Von Laer said there was no “black and white” decision made yet on extending the lockdown, but promised the government would develop a “well-balanced plan”. 

The opposition Freedom Party of Austria chairman Norbert Hofer told Austrian media that Monday evenings discussion was “highly theoretical” and that a decision would likely be made on February 1st. 

“It was – in part because experts took part in the conference – a highly theoretical debate. There were few concrete answers,” he said. 

Hofer said he was sceptical of the effectiveness of the measures. 

“Although representatives from government and experts shared my impression that the lockdown is having less and less effect due to fatigue with the measures, I also have the feeling that the government no longer really knows how to take people along on this path against the coronavirus” 

New case numbers however indicate that the measures are having an effect. While Austria was recording upwards of of 5,000 new cases daily in November and December, daily case numbers have fallen below 2,000 in recent days. 

 


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